The CBI on Wednesday named 14 people, including former Indian Air Force SP Tyagi and former union minister Santosh Bagrodia’s brother Satish Bagrodia, as accused in the FIR registered in connection with the VVIP helicopter deal. After the CBI FIR, the Enforcement Directorate may also charge the accused with money laundering under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The agency also named six companies – Italy-based Finmeccanica, its associate firm AgustaWestland, Mohali-based IDS Infotech, Chandigarh-based Aeromatrix, IDS Tunisia and IDS Mauritius – it its FIR in the Rs. 3600-crore chopper deal.
After registering the FIR, investigators carried out searches at 14 locations in Delhi, Chandigarh and Gurgaon.
Besides Tyagi and Bagrodia, the agency named the former air chief’s three cousins — Sanjeev alias Julie, Rajeev alias Docsa and Sandeep, three middlemen Carlo Gerosa, Christian Michel and Guido Haschke, IDS Infotech MD Partap Aggarwal, Aeromatrix CEO Praveen Bakshi, former Finmeccanica chairman Giuseppe Orsi, former AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini and IDS Infotech legal advisor Gautam Khaitan as accused.
All of them have denied the charges in the past.
The CBI in its FIR has alleged that during his tenure as air chief, Tyagi reduced service ceiling for choppers from 6,000 metres to 4,500 metres to help AgustaWestland. It has also been alleged that middleman Haschke through his Tunisia-based company Gordian Services Sarl entered into several consultancy contracts with AgustaWestland from 2004-05 and on back-to-back basis he also made consultancy contracts with the three Tyagi cousins. Investigators allege that there are at least two remittances – totalling 3.26 lakh euros -from Hashcke to Tyagi cousins.
The inflow of remittances to Tyagi cousins and softening of IAF’s stand on service ceiling of the helicopter closely match in terms of time.
According to the FIR, Haschke and Gerosa managed to send €5.6 million through IDS Infotech and Aeromatric Info Solutions to India and kept the remaining amount, out of €24.30 million received from AgustaWestland, in the account of IDS Tunisia. The agency alleged that of €51 million kickbacks paid by AgustaWestland, British middleman Christian Michel was paid €30 million and it is suspected that Michel used a Singapore-based company to channel funds in India.